April 06, 2018
nonplus (verb)
\nahn-PLUSS\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do : perplex
How do you use it?
"An ant came hurrying in a busy zigzag. She danced in front of it to tease it and put out her foot. It stared at her, nonplused, waving its antennae; then pettishly, as though put out, it swerved away." (Mary Norton, _The Borrowers_)
Are you a word wiz?

From what language do you think English borrowed "nonplus"?

We hope you aren't nonplussed that the answer is Latin. "Nonplus" first came into English in the late 1500s directly from the Latin phrase "non plus," which means "no more." The Latin phrase was borrowed into English first as a noun that referred to being confused or baffled, and was shortly after that made into a verb. How did we get from "no more" to "perplexed"? If a person is trying to puzzle out something strange, they can't take any more information in because they are still stuck on that one odd thing.
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